Glenroy adds new machine to continue growth

Glenroy Inc.
W158 N9332 Nor-X-Way Ave., Menomonee Falls
Industry: Flexible packaging
Employees: 173

Menomonee Falls-based Glenroy Inc. has been experiencing steady growth as a result of the increasing popularity of selling consumer products in flexible packaging, instead of rigid packaging.

Glenroy is in the process of adding a $3 million machine that will allow for different lamination capabilities, and is hiring nine new employees to keep up with its growth and transfer skills before older employees retire.

The company’s flexible packaging is lightweight and can be made into stand-up pouches with resealable caps or zippers for consumer usability, said Amanda Dahlby, marketing manager at Glenroy.

There are also fewer carbon emissions produced both to make it and to transport it to a landfill than with alternative consumer packaging, Dahlby said.

A machine scores packaging printed on flexible film at Glenroy.

There are five to eight different layers in each packaging product, depending on the structure, said Jim Costello, director of operations.

“We make a composite of a number of different structures,” he said. “What we’re really good at is sticking different, dissimilar materials together.

At Glenroy’s main 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, flexographic printers are used to transfer images onto clear film, usually made of polyester, polypropylene, nylon or cellophane. The ink is custom color matched, pumped into the printer’s reservoir, and then picked up by the anilox, a porous cylindrical roll, which transfers it to the printing plate. Finally, a large drum that turns the substrate picks up the ink from the plate. Employees spot check the film to assure there are no print errors.

Glenroy manufactures both printed packaging film rollstock and stand-up pouches.

“We print on the backside (of the film) because the outside surface won’t scratch off,” Costello said. “Really, we only have one shot of making it right – we can’t run it back through the machine and separate it.”

The film is then attached to a clear barrier layer using a melted resin, followed by a layer of very thin aluminum foil and finally a special contact layer that will touch the product. The whole lamination process takes about six to eight hours.

There are about 30,000 feet of product in the average manufacturing run at Glenroy. The company works with its customers, who are usually manufacturing the final product, to custom engineer the barriers used in the packaging to control the oxygen level and permeability of the package. They can also design the packaging graphics if necessary.

“Our strategic position is around being able to meet whatever the needs of the customer are,” Costello said.

Founded in 1965 by the family team of Herb, Ruth and Roy Jablonka, the company was named after Herb and Ruth’s sons, Glen and Roy. It was the first company to manufacture mylar balloon film in the late 1970s.

Today, Glenroy has grown to 173 employees and $55 to $60 million in annual sales. The company has three sites. In addition to its main facility, a 50,000-square-foot building across the street and a 1,000-square-foot building a mile away are also used for manufacturing.

The third generation of the family took ownership in 2012, and the fourth generation can be seen toddling around in the open concept offices.

Glenroy has about 1,000 active SKUs. In their final application, the pouches are used to dispense products as disparate as wine and motor oil. Much of Glenroy’s packaging product is used in the cosmetic and medical industries. Sometimes, the film is used as lidding stock on products like fruit cups.

The company also sells plain roller stock to banner companies and other printers. It can custom cut rolls from 1.75 inches wide to 72 inches wide using a slitter.

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